Victims report losing more than £21 million in one year to Computer Software Service fraud

  • Action Fraud campaign warns people about Computer Software Service fraud.
  • 22,000 victims reported losing £21 million in 2017/18.
  • Action Fraud figures show that Computer Software Service fraud is in the top five most reported fraud types.

Today (24 September 2018), Action Fraud launches a campaign to warn people about the threat of Computer Software Service fraud, one of the country’s most reported top five frauds.

What is Computer Software Service Fraud?

Computer Software Service fraud can start with either a phone call, an email or a pop-up message appearing on your computer, stating there is something wrong with your computer or internet connection and that it needs to be fixed. However, there will either be a demand for payment to fix it, or they will install software on the computer which will allow the criminals to access personal and financial details.

New intelligence

In 2017/18, Action Fraud received 22,609 reports of Computer Software Service fraud with a total of£21,365,360 being lost to fraudsters. An intelligence report run by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has shown that men and women are equally susceptible to being targeted and the average age of a victim is 63. Figures also show that those living in London and Bristol are most likely to fall victim.

Raising awareness

This week, Action Fraud and the City of London Police are issuing protection advice on their social media channels to help people avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud using the hashtag #CuttingComputerFraud.

It is also encouraging businesses to warn their customers about this type of fraud so that people are aware that they will never be contacted in this way.

City of London Polices Temporary Detective Chief Inspector, Lara Xenoudakis said:

“These fraudsters prey on vulnerable victims, doing everything they can to convince them there is something wrong with their computer.

“They use this as a way to gain immediate and in some cases multiple payments from the victim.

“During this campaign week, we are asking people to do everything they can to protect themselves from this type of fraud and stop fraudsters from thinking that this is an easy way to make money from unsuspecting victims.”

How to protect yourself from Computer Software Service fraud

  • Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer. Fraudsters make these phone calls to try to steal from you and damage your computer with malware. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and don’t give out any personal information.
  • Computer firms tend not to send out unsolicited communication about security updates, although they do send security software updates. If in doubt, don’t open the email.
  • Computer firms do not request credit card information to validate copies of software. Nor do they ask for any personally identifying information, including credit card details.

Nfib Alert – Bogus Overseas Officers

Fraudsters are contacting overseas students and visitors who are in the UK via their mobile phone or social network account and purporting to represent UK or foreign law enforcement.

After fraudsters have claimed to work with their respective embassy or government, they tell the victim that there is evidence in the form of forged documentation or parcels which implicate them in a crime such as money laundering, fraud or immigration offences.

After demanding further personal details from the victim such as their name, current address and copies of personal documentation, they threaten the victim by suggesting a warrant exists for their arrest which will result in their deportation and imprisonment unless they transfer a payment to them in order to cancel the arrest or pay a fine. Once the money is transferred, all contact between the victim and the fraudster is severed.

What You Need To Do:

Police will never ask you to withdraw to transfer money so “it can be checked”, neither would they demand money to in order to cancel an arrest.
Do not be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details no matter who they say they are; protect your information and have the confidence to question and refuse unusual requests.
If you have made a payment to someone claiming to be the police or government department, and you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using our online fraud reporting tool. You can also get advice about fraud or cyber-crime by calling 0300 123 2040.
If you are a student you can ask your Student Union or University for advice, help and support.

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

Scam Alert – Fake British Gas Emails

Alert – Rise In Fake Amazon Emails 20/07/2018

Scam Alert – Fake Argos Texts


Watch out for these fake Argos texts offering refunds

These fake text messages purport to be from Argos and claim that you’re owed a refund. The link in the messages lead to phishing websites designed to steal your personal information, as well as payment details.

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

 

Follow Up Calls Computer Software Service Fraud

There is concern that victims of previous Computer Software Service Fraud (CSSF) are being re-targeted for “owed money”. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reports that CSSF scammers are returning to contact previous victims, requesting that they pay money owed for a fake malware protection service they had provided. Alternatively, the fraudster will ask for a new subscription fee in return for protection from a new threat. The victims that have made payments to the fraudsters have done so via credit/debit card payments. In some instances threatening and aggressive language has been used against victims, as part of the attempt to coerce them into sending money.

Computer Software Service Fraud involves the victim being contacted, told that there is a problem with their computer, and that for a fee this issue can be resolved. The aim of the fraudster at this point is usually to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and, subsequently, access to their online banking account. No fix actually occurs. The victims will often be cold-called or will receive a pop-up on their computer, prompting them to phone the suspect.

Since the beginning of this year (2018), the total loss for repeat victims of CSSF has been reported as £16,712.85. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has noticed an increase in such reports since the beginning of May.

 Protect Yourself

• If you receive such an unsolicited call or pop-up, do not make a payment. Always ensure you know who you are talking to. If in doubt, hang up immediately.

• Do not allow remote access to your computer.

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank, or another trusted organisation, force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions.

• Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.  Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visitwww.cyberaware.gov.uk and takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to us atActionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.